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Feifer & Greenberg, LLP
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Many New York traffic tickets are issued for Disobeyed Traffic Control Device, and many people ask us what exactly constitues a “traffic control device.”

§ 153 of the NYS VTL defines a traffic control device as follows:

All signs, signals, markings, and devices not inconsistent with this chapter placed or erected by authority of a public body or official having jurisdiction for the purpose of regulating, warning or guiding traffic.

§ 1110 of the VTL regulates obedience to traffic control devices.  This is the section of law that would be cited on a NY Disobey Traffic Control Device traffic ticket.  § 1110(a) reads as follows:

Every person shall obey the instructions of any official traffic-control device applicable to him placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this title.

Thus, if you fail to follow the directions indicated on any sign, or any traffic signal, or any marking written on the pavement, you are in danger of receiving a traffic ticket for disobeyed traffic device.

For example, a driver who is pulled over for speeding in the state of New York may be charged with excessive speed. In addition, the driver may also be cited for failure to obey a traffic control device. These are separate NY traffic tickets, and each charge brings with it its own set of fines and points. Any traffic control device violation in the state automatically earns a driver two points on their license if convicted.

In many ways, this section of law is a catch-all.  There are specific violations for red lights, green arrows, stop signs, speed signs, etc, yet in theory any one of these violations could be written under the general traffic control device section.

A traffic control device violation in New York carries 2 points.  It is often preferable to the more specific violations mentioned above because those generally carry 3 or more NY traffic ticket points.

This section of the NYS VTL is one of the most often cited in New York traffic court. If you are charged with one of these violations, it is recommended that you consult a traffic lawyer. Pleading guilty or automatically paying your citation for a disobeyed traffic control device could result in fines and points. Subsequent violations could mean additional penalties. While most NY traffic tickets for a disobeyed traffic device are minor, convictions can build upon one another and increase financial hardship.


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